Sunday, January 10, 2016

60 Hours in NYC

Since I can remember, Scott and I have always dreamed about visiting New York City at Christmastime. Matt and Jenny graciously offered to watch our kiddos for 3 days, so we finally decided to make it happen.

We drove to Charlotte on the Saturday after Keaton's school dismissed for winter break. 
The very next morning, we flew out of Charlotte for NYC!
This was our view out the window of the airplane that very blustery cold morning! It turned into the most amazing sunrise over the Atlantic, and I knew it was a sign of good things to come!
We arrived in NYC about 8:00am, and took the train from the Newark airport to Penn Station. This is our first selfie, the very minute we stepped out onto the street in New York. We're here!!
One of our first stops was the Macy's at Herald Square. This place was incredible! One whole city block and nine stories high.  As you can see, the outside was decorated in an elaborate Peanuts theme for Christmas.
We journeyed a few blocks to drop off our bags at the hotel, then made our way to Rockefeller Center, which is kinda the center point of all Christmas activity in Midtown. It was awesome to finally see the famous Rockefeller Center tree and ice rink. Did you know this rink averages 10 marriage proposals per day during the holidays? Wow!
We continued our walk down Fifth Avenue to see all the amazing Christmas displays. This is Scott doing his best Trump impression in front of Trump Tower.
St Patrick's Cathedral was stunning!

It was quite surreal to find ourselves touring a beautiful cathedral DURING MASS on the fourth Sunday of advent.
A beautiful church with such a rich history.
Wow! Central Park!
This park amazed me! A sanctuary of green space surrounded what felt like mountains of buildings.
$50 for a 15 minute ride? No thanks!

Literary Walk
The Imagine Mosaic at Strawberry Fields. Of course, there  were street musicians there singing John Lennon songs.
We were so pooped from the miles of walking all day  that we decided to take an Uber ride to Times Square that evening. Our first experience in NYC traffic. What an adventure!
We had a Groupon for a Christmas Lights bus tour that drove us all around Midtown to see the spectacular lights displays. Of course, Saks Fifth Avenue won by a long shot. The entire side of the building was literally alive with lights. Every 10 minutes, these lights would dance to a perfectly choreographed Christmas tune. We happened to be stuck in traffic right in front of Saks during one such show. 
After the bus tour, we had some fun walking around Times Square.  Taylor Swift lyrics kept popping in my head... "Kaleidoscope of  loud, heartbeats under coats... the lights are so bright but they never blind me."
Times Square selfie!

Giant Disney Store, all lit up with Star Wars EVERYTHING. This pic was for the boys.
We finished off our first evening with delicious pasta at Carmines!
The next morning, we intended to wake up early to get in front row for the taping of The Today Show, but we were so exhausted from the night before that we just could not get out of bed. And honestly, how often do we really get to sleep in? We did get there before it was over and saw Matt Lauer and the gang from our tip-toes from the BACK row.
Next, we did some exploring around Rockefeller Center and NBC Studios

Me and Jimmy! Too bad taping was wrapped up for the year! Would have LOVED to have seen that!

The Lego Store had a full replica of Rockefeller Center, made of Lego, of course!
30 Rock!

The tree is huge!

We took a guided tour of Rockefeller Center which I would recommend to anyone! Fascinating!
After our tour, we took the long elevator to the top of the Comcast Building to the "Top of the Rock." It was quite a fantastic 360* view of the entire city.
The Top of the Rock is not quite as high as the Empire State Building, but its view has several advantages. One of them being a better view of Central Park and the Empire State Building itself!
After a quick lunch, we continued our walk down Fifth Avenue and stumbled upon the New York City Public Library.

The public library  is a beautiful building, and full of many fascinating exhibits. We found one really cool exhibit about the history of sharing photographs.

We made our way to Bryant Park and enjoyed some Bavarian cider
Getting creative with selfies at this point.
After some resting up at the hotel, we grabbed a quick drink and then headed back to Central Park to ice skate!

Thanks to us, everyone skating got to listen to Christmas music instead of Top 40 hits (which they were playing when we first arrived). Scott talked to the manager and he hooked us up. We like to think that we made the experience more special for everyone that evening. :-)

The next morning, we got in line at Serendipity 3 at 10:30a for their 11:00a opening. We requested "the movie table" and we were able to sit at the same table that John Cusack and Kate Beckinsdale sat at in the Serendipity movie (yes, we're dorky like that.) We enjoyed a delicious breakfast and their signature Frozen Hot Chocolate! Yum!
We made our way back to Times Square after breakfast, and spent the rest of our morning souvenir shopping - most of our souvenirs were left in a bag at TSA checkpoint at Newark Airport hours latert! Ahhh!!
 In the final hours of our trip, we ventured onto the Subway and visited the financial district.
9/11 memorial- so beautiful!
The new World Trade Center tower
  I had very mixed feelings about visiting Ground Zero, since I wanted this trip to be a strictly "fun" time. I knew that visiting the memorial and the museum would be a very emotional experience for me. The museum was extremely well-done, and was every bit as emotional as I expected. I'm very glad that we visited this museum once, but I'm honestly not sure if I could go again.

 After making our way back to the hotel to get our bags, it was already time to catch our train to the airport! We enjoyed a 2 1/2 hour delay to our already late flight out of Newark, and didn't actually arrive back to the Lieblers house until 3:00am! 

 It was a whirlwind trip, but a literal dream come true. New York, you did not disappoint!
I already can't wait to come back.

1 comment:

Melissa Batusic said...

Wow what an amazing trip! You did so much! Way to research to make every minute count.